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Life Sci Space Res. 1974;12:209-13.

Viability of Bacillus subtilis spores exposed to space environment in the M-191 experiment system aboard Apollo 16.

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  • 1Arbeitsgruppe fur biophysikalische Weltraumforschung, Universitat Frankfurt, Frankfurt/Main, FRG.


During the Apollo 16 space flight, in the experiment system M-191, (microbial response to space environment) spores of Bacillus subtilis 168 were exposed to space vacuum or solar UV irradiation with a peak wavelength of 254 nm or both. The effects of these space factors on the colony-forming ability of the spores were studied. It was found (i) that space vacuum alone did not affect the survival of pre-dried spores; (ii) that space vacuum in combination with solar UV irradiation with a peak wavelength of 254 nm had a synergistic effect, which may by attributed to a UV supersensitivity of the spores during vacuum exposure. These results agreed with findings of simulation experiments on earth. It was concluded that air dried spores may survive exposure to space vacuum if shielded against solar UV irradiation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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